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Quotes by Jerry Bridges


Some temptations can best be overcome by fleeing (2 Timothy 2:22).


Every time we say yes to temptation, we make it harder to say no the next time.


God can restrain not only people’s actions, but even their most deeply rooted desires. No part of the human heart is impervious to God’s sovereign but mysterious control.


 So while the Bible asserts both God’s sovereignty and people’s freedom and moral responsibility, it never attempts to explain their relationship.


There is a vast difference between a struggling faith (Mk. 9:24)…and (a) stubborn unbelief (Mk. 3:3-6).


Spiritual disciplines are provided for our good, not for our bondage. They are privileges to be used, not duties to be performed. To take off on a familiar quotation from Jesus, “Spiritual disciplines were made for man, not man for spiritual disciplines” (see Mark 2:27).


To meditate on the Scriptures is to think about them, turning them over in our minds, and applying them to our life’s situations… The objective of our meditation is application – obedience to the Scriptures.


As you read or study the Scriptures and meditate on them during the day, ask yourself these three questions:

1. What does this passage teach concerning God’s will for a holy life?

2. How does my life measure up to that Scripture; specifically where and how do I fall short? (Be specific; don’t generalize).

3. What definite steps of action do I need to take to obey?


Human morality and submission to God’s law are entirely different in principle, though they may appear to be similar in outward appearance. Human morality arises out of culture and family training and is based on what is proper and expected in the society we live in. It has nothing to do with God except to the extent that godly people have influenced that society. Submission to God’s law arises out of a love for God and a grateful response to His grace and is based on a delight in His law as revealed in Scripture. When the societal standard of morality varies from the law of God written in Scripture, we then see the true nature of human morality. We discover that it is just as hostile to the law of God as is the attitude of the most hardened sinner.


Being under the law is the opposite of being under grace.  Because of our sin against the law, being under law implies the wrath of God, whereas grace implies forgiveness and favor.  Law implies a broken relationship with God, whereas grace implies a restored relationship with Him.  So when Paul said we died to the law, he meant we died to that entire state of condemnation, curse, and alienation from God.


It is hypocritical to pray for victory over our sins yet be careless in our intake of the Word of God.


Too often today we listen to be entertained instead of instructed, to be moved emotionally rather than moved to obedience.


God does deal with our sins, but only in such a way as for our good. He does not deal with us as our sins deserve, which would be punishment, but as His grace provides, which is for our good.


Discipline may be either corrective or remedial.  It may be sent for the purpose of correcting some sinful attitude or action, or to remedy some lack in our character.  In either case, it is administered by our heavenly Father in love, not in wrath. Jesus has already borne the wrath of God in our place, so all adversities that come to us, come because He loves us and designs to conform us to the likeness of His Son.


The world…is characterized by the subtle and relentless pressure it brings to bear upon us to conform to its values and practices. It creeps up on us little by little. What was once unthinkable becomes thinkable, then doable, and finally acceptable to society at large. Sin becomes respectable, and so Christians are no more than five to ten years behind the world in embracing most sinful practices.


[God] is at work in all the circumstances of your life to bring out the good for you, even if you had never heard of Romans 8:28. His work is not dependent upon your faith. But the comfort and joy that statement is intended to give you is dependent upon your believing it, upon your trusting in Him who is at work, even though you cannot see the outcome of that work.


Our duty is found in the revealed will of God in the Scriptures. Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God, as He works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for out good and His glory.


Confidence in the sovereignty of God in all that affects us is crucial to our trusting Him. If there is a single event in all of the universe that can occur outside of God’s sovereign control then we cannot trust Him. His love may be infinite, but if His power is limited and His purpose can be thwarted, we cannot trust Him.


The same Christian activity can be either an expression of our own righteousness that we think earns favor with God, or it can be an expression of love and gratitude because we already have His favor through the righteousness of Christ.


The war is over. The alienation and divine displeasure toward us because of our sin have been removed. We are no longer objects of wrath. We have peace with God whether we realize it or not. However, to the extent that we understand and believe the truth regarding justification, we will experience a subjective peace – that is, a sense of peace within our souls. We will know that we have been bought from a state of condemnation and the prospect of eternal judgment into a state of forgiveness and favor with God.


As we grow in holiness, we grow in hatred of sin; and God, being infinitely holy, has an infinite hatred of sin.


Pride, in relation to other people, is comparing ourselves with others and seeing ourselves as superior to them in some way – whether it be in character, conduct, or achievement.


We need to be careful that we do not add our own man-made rules to the Scriptures. Some convictions that we hold dearly may be derived more from our particular Christian culture than derived from Scripture, and we need to learn to discern the differences. It is okay to have cultural convictions, but we should be careful that we do not elevate them to the same authority as Scripture. So much judgmentalism among Christians today occurs because we do this.


This is the way we develop conviction – by bringing God’s Word to bear on specific situations that arise in our lives and determining God’s will in that situation from the Word.


Godliness is more than Christian character.  It covers the totality of the Christian life and provides the foundation upon which Christian character is built.


So often we try to develop Christian character and conduct without taking the time to develop God-centered devotion.  We try to please God without taking the time to walk with Him and develop a relationship with Him.  This is impossible to do.


Trials always change our relationship with God. Either they drive us to Him, or they drive us away from Him. The extent of our fear of Him and our awareness of His love for us determine in which direction we will move. 


We must have conviction that it is God’s will that we seek holiness – regardless of how arduous and painful the seeking may be. And we must be confident that the pursuit of holiness results in God’s approval and blessing, even when circumstances make it appear otherwise.


[We insist that God] must surely lead everyone as we believe He has led us. We refuse to allow God the freedom to deal with each of us as individuals. When we think like that, we are legalistic.


In…the instances where faith is mentioned (in Matthew 9), the object of faith was in Jesus’ ability to heal, not His will to heal. Today as we pray for the healing of our friends or loved ones who suffer severe illness or disease, we too should believe that God is able to heal, either directly or through conventional means. To say I have faith that God will heal is presumptuous since we do not know the mind of God, but to say God is able to heal is to exercise faith.


We may say that providence is God’s orchestrating all events and circumstances in the universe for His glory and the good of His people (Rom. 8:28).


Only one who has a strong desire to be holy will ever persevere in the painfully slow and difficult task of pursing holiness. There are too many failures. The habits of our old nature and the attacks of Satan are too strong for us to persevere unless the Holy Spirit is at work in us to create a desire for holiness. The Holy Spirit creates this desire, not only by showing us our sins, but also by showing us God’s standard of holiness. He does this through the Scriptures. As we read and study the Scriptures or hear them taught, we are captivated by the moral beauty of God’s standard of holiness.


The exercise of inner strength under the direction of sound judgment that enables us to do, think, and say the things that are pleasing to God.


Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with His wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of trust.


We do not have the ability to enter the kingdom unless the Spirit of God gives us life through the new birth. We are born again, then, by a sovereign, monergistic (that is, the Spirit working alone) act of the Holy Spirit. Then, as a result of that new birth, we exercise the faith given to us, and enter the kingdom of God.


Bitterness arises in our hearts when we do not trust in the sovereign rule of God in our lives.


Uncontrolled temper is soon dissipated on others. Resentment, bitterness, and self-pity build up inside our hearts and eat away at our spiritual lives like a slowly spreading cancer.


We must not allow our emotions to hold sway over our minds. Rather, we must seek to let the truth of God rule our minds. Our emotions must become subservient to the truth.


The object of our faith is not the mere content of the message, but the One whom the message is about.


The word command carries the idea of authority. The most basic meaning of the word is “to direct with authority.” A command does not just give guidance that one may accept or reject; a command implies that the one giving it has the authority to require obedience and the intention of doing so. This is true of the commands of God. As the Sovereign God of the universe, He has the authority to require obedience and He does insist that we obey Him.


[We must] pray constantly for His enabling grace to say no to temptation, of choosing to take all practical steps to avoid known areas of temptation and flee from those that surprise us.


There is no point in praying for victory over temptation if we are not willing to make a commitment to say no to it.


It is our own evil desires that lead us into temptation. We may think we merely respond to outward temptations that are presented to us. But the truth is, our evil desires are constantly searching out temptations to satisfy their insatiable lusts (James 1:14).


Love is very much a matter of actions rather than emotions. However, although this emphasis on acts of love is certainly necessary, we can sometimes give the impression that love doesn’t involve any emotion – that it is entirely an act of the will, of one’s duty, regardless of how one feels. We can even promote the “I can love him but I can’t like him” type of attitude. The Bible does not support such an unbalanced concept of love…fervently, fondly, and affectionately (are used in the Bible) to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another… Obviously such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less.


God searches the heart and understands every motive. To be acceptable to Him, our motives must spring from a love for Him and a desire to glorify Him. Obedience to God performed from a legalistic motive – that is a fear of the consequences or to gain favor with God – is not pleasing to God.


His entire life was one of suffering obedience and obedient suffering. He suffered throughout His life and He was obedient throughout His life, even in the face of the suffering He endured.


We must not misconstrue God’s sovereignty so as to make people mere puppets, so we must not press man’s freedom to the point of limiting God’s sovereignty.


We must remember that the methods of spiritual disciplines are a means to the end, not the end themselves.


The word, stored in the heart, provides a mental depository for the Holy Spirit to use to mediate His grace to us, whatever our need for grace might be.


The word meditate as used in the Old Testament literally means to murmur or to mutter and, by implication, to talk to oneself. When we meditate on the Scriptures we talk to ourselves about them, turning over in our minds the meanings, the implications, and the applications to our own lives.


Usually we think of methods of intake as falling into four categories – hearing the Word taught by our pastors and teachers (Jeremiah 3:15), reading the Bible ourselves (Deuteronomy 17:19), studying the Scriptures intently (Proverbs 2:1-5), and memorizing key passages (Psalm 119:11). All of these methods are needed for a balanced intake of the Word… [But] we must do more than hear, read, study, or memorize Scripture. We must [also] meditate on it (Joshua 1:8).


Our reason, enlightened by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, stands in the way of sin gaining mastery over us through our desires.


Five fatherly responsibilities that God has assumed toward His children:
1. God provides for us (Phil. 4:19).
2. God protects (Mt. 10:29-31).
3. God encourages us (Psm. 10:17).
4. God comforts us (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
5. God disciplines us (Heb. 12:10).


God never pursues His glory at the expense of the good of His people, nor does He ever seek our good at the expense of His glory. He has designed His eternal purpose so that His glory and our good are inextricably bound together. What comfort and encouragement this should be to us. If we are going to learn to trust God in adversity, we must believe that just as certainly as God will allow nothing to subvert His glory, so He will allow nothing to spoil the good He is working out in us and for us.


Because you and I are in Christ Jesus, His glory and our good are linked together. Because we are united with Christ, whatever is for His glory is also for our good. And whatever is for our good is for His glory.


Materialism wars against our souls in a twofold manner. First it makes us discontent and envious of others. Second, it leads us to pamper and indulge our bodies so that we become soft and lazy.


God’s law, as a rule of life, is not opposed to grace.  Rather, used in the right sense, it is the handmaid of grace.  Or, to use an analogy, it is like a sheepdog that keeps driving back into the fold of grace, when we stray out into the wilderness of works.


Love provides the motive for obeying the commands of the law, but the law provides specific direction for exercising love.


Progressive sanctification is subjective or experiential and is the work of the Holy Spirit within us imparting to us the life and power of Christ, enabling us to respond in obedience to Him.


Progressive sanctification very much involves our activity. But it is an activity that must be carried out in dependence on the Holy Spirit.  It is not a partnership with the Spirit in the sense that we each – the believer and the Holy Spirit – do our respective tasks.  Rather, we work as He enables us to work. His work lies behind all our work and makes our work possible… He is not dependent on us to do His work. But we are dependent on Him to do our work; we cannot do anything apart from Him.


Initial sanctification occurs instantly at the moment of salvation when we are delivered from the kingdom of darkness and brought into the Kingdom of Christ (see Colossians 1:13). Progressive sanctification continues over time until we go to be with the Lord. Initial sanctification is entirely the work of God the Holy Spirit who imparts to us the very life of Christ. Progressive sanctification is also the work of the Holy Spirit, but it involves a response on our part so that we as believers are actively involved in the process.


Scripture speaks of both a holiness we already possess in Christ before God and a holiness in which we are to grow more and more. The first is the result of the work of Christ for us; the second is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The first is perfect and complete and is ours the moment we trust Christ; the second is progressive and incomplete as long as we are in this life. The objective holiness we have in Christ and the subjective holiness produced by the Holy Spirit are both gifts of God’s grace and are both appropriated by faith.


God’s ultimate goal for us, however, is that we be truly conformed to the likeness of His Son in our person as well as in our standing… Jesus did not die just to save us from the penalty of sin, nor even just to make us holy in our standing before God. He died to purify for Himself a people eager to obey Him, a people eager to be transformed into His likeness… This process of gradually conforming us to the likeness of Christ begins at the very moment of our salvation when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us and to actually give us a new life in Christ. We call this gradual process progressive sanctification, or growing in holiness, because it truly is a growth process.


Although we may be going to the Scriptures to learn how to respond to our adversities, we find those adversities in turn help us to understand the Scriptures. It is not that we will learn from adversity something different than what we can learn from the Scriptures. Rather, adversity enhances the teaching of God’s Word and makes it more profitable to us. In some instances it clarifies our understanding or causes us to see truths we had passed over before. At other times it will transform “head knowledge” into “heart knowledge” as theological theory becomes a reality to us.


We are responsible to clothe ourselves with Christlike character, but we are dependent on God’s Spirit to produce within us His “fruit.”


The Bible indicates that our thought lives ultimately determine our character. Solomon said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Pro. 23:7).


Holiness begins in our minds and works out to our actions. That being true, what we allow to enter our minds is critically important. The television programs we watch, the movies we may attend, the books and magazines we read, the music we listen to, and the conversations we have all affect our minds. We need to evaluate the effects of these avenues honestly, using Philippians 4:8 as a standard. Are the thought stimulated by these various avenues true? Are they pure? Lovely? Admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?


Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit in our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God (see Numbers 11:1).


Humility, then, is a recognition that we are at the same time “worm Jacob” and a mighty threshing sledge – completely weak and helpless in ourselves, but powerful and useful by the grace of God.


The faithful person is one who is dependable, trustworthy, and loyal, who can be depended upon in all of his relationships, and who is absolutely honest and ethical in all of his affairs.


God wants us to be dependable even when it costs us. This is what distinguishes godly faithfulness from the ordinary dependability of secular society.


We are much more concerned about someone abusing his freedom than we are about his guarding it. We are more afraid of indulging the sinful nature than we are of falling into legalism. Yet legalism does indulge the sinful nature because it fosters self-righteousness and religious pride. It also diverts us from the real issues of the Christian life by focusing on external and sometimes trivial issues.


Aggravating all of these areas (of legalism) is a class of people who have come to be known as “controllers.” These are people who are not willing to let you live your life before God as you believe He is leading you. They have all the issues buttoned down and have cast-iron opinions about all of them. These people only know black and white. There are no gray areas to them. They insist you live your Christian life according to their rules and their opinions. If you insist on being free to live as God wants you to live, they will try to intimidate you and manipulate you one way or another. Their primary weapons are “guilt trips,” rejection, or gossip. These people must be resisted. We must not allow them to subvert the freedom we have in Christ.


Here is a spiritual principle: We cannot exercise love unless we are experiencing grace. You cannot truly love others unless you are convinced that God’s love for you is unconditional, based solely on the merit of Christ, not on your performance. John said, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love, either to God or to others, can only be a response to His love for us.


The second commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. Among other things this would mean:
1. You cherish for your neighbors the very same love that you bear toward yourself.
2. In your dealings with them you never show selfishness, irritability, peevishness, or indifference.
3. You take a genuine interest in their welfare and seek to promote their interests, honor, and well-being.
4. You never regard them with a feeling of prideful superiority, nor do you ever talk about their failings.
5. You never resent any wrongs they do to you, but instead are always ready to forgive.
6. You always treat them as you would have them treat you.
7. To paraphrase 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, you are always patient and kind, never envious or boastful, never proud or rude, never self-seeking. You are not easily angered and you keep no record, even in your mind, of wrongs done to you.


The author of Hebrews readily admits that discipline is painful (Heb. 10:11). But He also assures us it is profitable. It produces “a harvest of righteousness and peace.” The purpose of God’s discipline is not to punish us but to transform us. He has already meted out punishment for our sins on Jesus at Calvary: “The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). But we must be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. That is the purpose of discipline.


This is not to say that every adversity that occurs in our lives through God’s discipline is related to some specific sin we have committed. The issue God is dealing with in our lives is not so much what we do, but what we are. All of us tend to underestimate the remaining sinfulness in our hearts. We fail to see the extent of pride, fleshly self-confidence, selfish ambitions, stubbornness, self-justification, lack of love, and distrust of God that He does see.


Even when God deems it necessary to discipline us for persistent disobedience, He always does so out of love to restore us to the way of obedience (see Hebrews 12:4-11).


We all want grace, but we cannot enjoy grace when there is an attitude of comparing.


Discipline toward holiness begins then with the Scriptures – with a disciplined plan for regular intake of the Scriptures and a disciplined plan for applying them to our daily lives.


It is at the cross where God’s Law and God’s grace are both most brilliantly displayed, where His justice and His mercy are both glorified. But it is also at the cross where we are most humbled. It is at the cross where we admit to God and to ourselves that there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn or merit our salvation.


Prayer assumes the sovereignty of God. If God is not sovereign, we have no assurance that He is able to answer our prayers. Our prayers would become nothing more than wishes. But while God’s sovereignty, along with his wisdom and love, is the foundation of our trust in Him, prayer is the expression of that trust.


If Christ came that we might have joy (life to the full), if the Holy Spirit is at work in us to produce joy, then it is a contradiction of God’s purpose for us when we are not joyful.


The purpose of rejoicing is not so we can feel better emotionally (though that will happen). The purpose of joy is to glorify God by demonstrating to an unbelieving world that our loving and faithful heavenly Father cares for us and provides for us all that we need.


God can and does work in the hearts and minds of rulers and officials of government to accomplish His sovereign purpose. Their hearts and minds are as much under His control as the impersonal physical laws of nature. Yet their every decision is made freely – most often without any thought or regard to the will of God.


We should take more seriously our responsibility to pray for the leaders of our government that they will make wise decisions. Although we may suspect that some of the more disastrous decisions are evidence of God’s judgment, we do not know that. We do know God has instructed us to pray for leaders. Our duty, then, is to pray for wise decisions, but to trust when foolish and harmful decisions are made.


The so-called sovereign nations of the world are not truly sovereign. They are nothing more than instruments in the hand of God to accomplish His will; sometimes to protect His people, sometimes to open doors for advancement of the gospel, and sometimes to be His instrument of judgment against ungodliness. As God looks down upon the nations that accomplish His purpose, even while rebelling against Him, He sees them as nothing more than His instruments (Isaiah 10:15).


But what about issues that are not specifically mentioned in the Scriptures – how do we determine God’s will and develop conviction in those areas?…

1. “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Question 1: Is it helpful – physically, spiritually, and mentally?

2. “Everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). Question 2: Does it bring me under its power?

3. “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall” (1 Corinthians 8:13). Question 3: Does it hurt others?

4. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Question 4: Does it glorify God?


God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29).


That which should distinguish the suffering of believers from unbelievers is the confidence that our suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; our suffering has meaning and purpose in God’s eternal plan, and He brings or allows to come into our lives only that which is for His glory and our good.